Thursday, February 17, 2011

Our Curriculum

I’ve decided to write a little about the curriculum we are currently using as well as some of the things we have tried in the past. I only have one child that I have been teaching so far (he’s in 4th grade). The other three are 2 and under. Yes, I did say 2 and under. Life is busy.

Math: This is our main focus right now since we are somewhat behind. We are doubling up on lessons, but we are on track to finish up 4th grade math by the end of June, if not before. We’ve switched math curriculums several times, trying to find a good fit for my son. We tried A Beka & Math U See, but we weren’t very happy with either one.

I have several friends who love Math U See, so I thought I’d try it, but my son hated it. Funny thing, though… the morning we decided we would stop using it & try something else, a friend of mine posted on our local homeschool yahoo group that they were looking to buy the Math U See curriculum. So I was able to sell it that day. Was that God or what?!

So the past 2 years, we have been using Christian Light (CLE). It’s been working pretty well for us. The only reason we’ve gotten behind is because I keep having babies, plus all the hubbub with building a house & moving. But we are done with both of those, so I’m looking forward to being caught up on this subject. It’s a workbook style & my son is able to do it pretty independently. He also checks his own work when he is done, which is a HUGE help for me because I’m terrible at getting around to that sometimes.

Language/Arts: My son loves, loves, loves to read so this subject is a pretty easy one for him. I plan to post his book list sometime that he’s read over the past few years. His bedtime is 8:00, but since he was in first grade, he has been allowed to read in bed until 9:30 each night. He also reads off and on throughout the day.

(Below is something I came across in the living room a couple of years ago... haha... isn't he creative?)

For kindergarten, he learned to read with A Beka phonics. It was so easy & I really enjoyed teaching him how to read so I’ve kept all my flashcards, etc to use with my other children.

In first grade, we began using My Father’s World (MFW). It’s a unit study & the first grade curriculum includes language/arts. But I have to say, although I really like MFW, I didn’t really care for their first grade language/arts. It just didn’t seem like it had enough to it, I guess.

The past few years, we’ve been using Learning Language Arts Through Literature (LLATL). It’s been pretty good, although I’m still looking for something better. I’m also getting ready to add in Spelling Power. I bought it awhile back but haven’t had a chance to start using it yet.

Science: We spent a couple of years just checking out the Magic School Bus series from the library. It was a fun way to learn science for that age. We also have looked through a lot of the DK/ Eyewitness books. The visuals on those books are excellent & it’s so easy to learn things when you’re not even really trying. Videos/Documentaries have been good for that too.

Although I’m sure my son would enjoy doing science experiments more, we’ve really only done maybe a few of them. It’s just not my thing & trying to coordinate stuff like that makes my head hurt. Maybe when he’s in middle school, we’ll do more of that.

History/Geography/Bible: Our main curriculum is My Father’s World (MFW). It's the "fun" part of school. This is our 4th year using it, and we’ve been really happy with it. We’re taking it at our own pace, working around our busy family life. In 1st grade, the focus was on Bible stories (Creation to Moses).

For 2nd grade, we did MFW Adventures, which was American History (The Vikings to the American Revolution). That was a really fun year… I was learning many things for the first time, right along with my son. To finish off the year, he watched the entire series of the Liberty’s Kids videos. I highly recommend this. It really added a great visual to what he had learned.

For 3rd & 4th grade, we have been doing MFW Exploring Countries and Cultures (ECC). This is what the MFW website says about ECC: "Take a trip around the world and explore diverse countries while learning geography and being challenged by true stories of missionaries."

Since I had two babies during the past year & a half, we have spread this curriculum out to two years, which has worked just fine for us. It’s allowed us to take breaks when we need to. So the past few months, we’ve taken a break from it (since my baby was born in November) & just focused on math & language/arts, but on Monday, we’ll be adding it back in. My son has been asking & asking if we can do it again (a good sign that he really likes it), and I’m finally feeling ready to add it back in.

So there you go. That is our curriculum. Of course, so much of life can be considered part of homeschooling too. We do the occasional read-aloud, audio books, guitar/piano lessons, arts/crafts projects, cooking, outside activities, etc.

Snapfish: 100 photo prints for $5 shipped

I'm getting ready to do another round of printing photos. So I was excited to find this great deal from Snapfish. Through 2/20/11, you can order 100 prints from Snapfish for just $5 shipped. Just upload your prints to Snapfish, choose to order 100 copies and use coupon code CUPIDPICS at checkout. Your total should only be $5, including shipping. That's only 5 cents per photo! And if you've never ordered from Snapfish before, new customers can also get 50 prints free (plus shipping).

Thanks, Money Saving Mom!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

We've never really done the video game thing at our house (Wii, Playstation, etc). We don't have anything against it, really. We just would rather our kids do other things, and haven't wanted to spend the money on it.

We have friends who own a Wii, so we're pretty used to playing that, but just not at home. I'm sure that since my 9-yr old (almost 10) is getting older, though, it won't be long before we get some type of game system since he's been asking for one lately & has been saving up his money.

This past week, though, we came across the website, and he's been enjoying that. It's the children's website for Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) and is full of games, activities, Bible stories (even Bible trivia), etc. He loves it!

Monday, February 7, 2011

10 Days of Homeschooling Blog Hop - Starts TODAY

I'm excited to read some of these great homeschooling posts. So many interesting topics! Visit any of these blogs in this 10 day adventure to be encouraged, inspired and recharged. February 7th-18th!

10 days of socialization for mom | The Homeschool Chick
10 days of classical education | Milk & Cookies
10 days of large families | Chocolate on My Cranium
10 days of special needs | Special Needs Homeschooling
10 days of struggling learners | Homeschooling the Chaotic Family
10 days of homeschooling girls | Homegrown Mom
10 days of homeschool enrichment | Confessions of a Homeschooler
10 days of building a spiritual legacy | Mommy Missions
10 days of frugal homeschooling |The Happy Housewife
10 days of Charlotte Mason | Our Journey Westward
10 days of unschooling | Homeschooling Belle
10 days of organization | Confessions of an Organized Homeschool Mom
10 days of getting started | Blog, She Wrote
10 days of homeschooling boys | The Tie That Binds Us
10 days of homeschooling Montessori | Fruit in Season
10 days of preschool | Delightful Learning

Friday, February 4, 2011

Before I Was A Mom

I came across this poem (below) recently & it just has so much truth to it... at least for me. Having children makes you feel ways in which you never knew were possible. Ever since I had my baby girl two months ago, I have been so emotional (starting the day I came home from the hospital). It really caught me off-guard because I'm not usually like that & I kept wondering what was wrong with me... Why can't I just snap out of it?. I never cried this much after the birth of any of my other children, what is up?!... I thought. At first, I was thinking it was just because I was having a hard time adjusting to the extra workload of now having four children, ages 9, 2, 1 and a newborn. That's definitely been the case, but I don't think that's what's been the hardest for me.

I've now come to realize it's because I know this is my last baby (& my only girl) & I just feel like life is speeding by too fast. I just want to freeze time. Soak it all in. A couple of weeks ago, I packed up all the newborn baby girl clothes that my little one had outgrown. That was hard for me. With each milestone she reaches, I know that I will never have a child go through that stage again. Will I remember it? Did I take enough pictures? Or videos? I should be happy because she's smiling & cooing now, but instead, a lot of times I have felt sad over the past few months. She's already 12 pounds. Slow down, baby girl!

But what do I have to be sad about?! This is the life I've always wanted. The Lord has blessed me immensely with 4 children that I just adore... that make my heart feel so full. That make me laugh everyday. That give the best hugs & cuddles. That long for my attention & say, "Mama, watch!" before showing me something new & silly they can do.

Each stage with them has been fun. And Lord willing, we'll have many more stages ahead. My heart goes out to Dana at Roscommon Acres, who suddenly lost their sweet 22-month-old little boy in December. It's such a sad story but is a reminder to me that our children really belong to the Lord anyway. I also have 4 friends who have miscarried this past year. I feel so bad for them. We were pregnant together. I don't understand why my babies lived and theirs didn't. We never know what the future will hold. Or why. But we can trust God that He has a purpose for everything He does.

No, I don't have to remember every detail. But I don't have to just watch helplessly as life flies by either. I can be more deliberate at recording some of the things I do want to remember. So I've started carving out a few minutes each day to take pictures, write things down, back up my computer, etc. It doesn't really take much time. And it's been helping. I feel better now. I haven't been as emotional. Okay, I'm crying a little right now, but that doesn't count. I love my kids!

I also hadn't been getting out much. Going anywhere just seemed too hard. Too much stuff to pack up. Diaper bag, stroller, blankets, snacks, etc. Made me tired just thinking about it. It had been a long time since we had gone anywhere fun as a family. But my brother & sister were here visiting last week & so we spent a lot of quality time doing things together like going to the coast, the park, even just walking around the mall.

That helped a lot. Just getting out of the house. I needed that. Helped lift my spirits. Okay, I did forget to pack diapers when we went out the first day they were here, but still, it helped me realize 'I can do this!'. No, my children are not going to stop growing. Yes, they are going to continue to reach milestones, ones they will never repeat. All the more reason I need to spend my time enjoying them rather than feeling sad.

Okay, so here's the poem...

Before I Was A Mom
Before I was a Mom, I made and ate hot meals. I had unstained clothing. I had quiet conversations on the phone.

Before I was a Mom, I slept as late as I wanted and never worried about how late I got into bed. I brushed my hair and my teeth everyday.

Before I was a Mom, I cleaned my house each day. I never tripped over toys or forgot words to lullabies. I didn't worry whether or not my plants were poisonous. I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom, I had never been puked on... pooped on... spit on... chewed on... peed on... or pinched by tiny fingers.

Before I was a Mom, I had complete control of my mind... my thoughts... my body... and my money. I slept all night before I was a Mom. I never held down a screaming child so that doctors could do tests or give shots. I never looked into teary eyes and cried. I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin. I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom, I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put it down. I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn't stop the hurt. I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much. I never knew that I could love someone so much. I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom, I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside my body. I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby. I didn't know the bond between a Mother and her child. I didn't know that something so small could make me feel so important.

Before I was a Mom, I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay. I had never known the warmth... the joy... the heartache... the wonderment... or the satisfaction of being a Mom. I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much before I was a Mom.

This post is linking up with: Gratituesday.

Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?
Hosted by Krystyn at Really, Are You Serious?

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